“Real food is what our grandparents simply called food.” That’s the first line of Rocco DiSpirito’s new book, Rocco’s Healthy + Delicious (out today), and the foundation of the nearly 250 recipes in the cookbook.
DiSpirito advocates for eating “mostly” plant-based — meaning the majority of your diet is veggies and fruits, but you can feel free to enjoy some lean meat, too. In his book, DiSpirito offers tips on how to get back to healthy eating basics. Consume more plants (and keep them raw when you can), have meat in moderation, cut down on dairy and go for gluten-free grains.
While the recipes in DiSpirito’s book meet all of these guidelines, he also suggests essential grocery-list items that’ll make cooking healthy, real food extra easy. So what’s on his list? DiSpirito mentions 15 pantry staples for plant lovers in his book, but on a recent episode of Daily Burn 365, he narrows it down to just four. Check out this list of DiSpirito’s must-get ingredients, plus suggestions for how to use them. After you hit the aisles, you’ll be set up for clean eating success.
4 Healthy Pantry Staples, According to Rocco DiSpirito
1. Dark Chocolate
“Chocolate is a top-five superfood,” says DiSpirito. “It’s good for your heart; it’s good for your brain,” and that’s due to its high antioxidant content. He recommends buying products with 70 percent cacao and opting for raw varieties.
How to use it: Two words: Chocolate bark. Click here for DiSpirito’s exclusive Coconut-Almond Chcolatate Bark Recipe from Rocco’s Healthy + Delicious. Other ideas: dark chocolate protein bars and slimmed-down cookies and candies.
2. Rolled Oats
Opt for certified gluten-free products to give your gut some love. “Rolled oats are nature’s scrub brush — full of fiber and great nutrition,” DiSpirito says. Make them one of your go-to grains.
How to use it: Overnight oats and other breakfast dishes, plus burgers.
3. Coconut Nectar
Meet your new favorite sweetener. While it does pack some calories, coconut nectar is also rich in fiber and amino acids. It’s low on the glycemic index scale, too, so it’s a smart substitute for those watching their sugar intake, DiSpirito says.
How to use it: Drizzle like maple syrup over pancakes, on top of fruit or in place of brown sugar in baked goods.
4. Protein Powder
Beef up the fill factor of your foods with protein powder. DiSpirito suggests looking for those made of plant-based proteins (like hemp, pea or rice) or egg, and choosing those without added sugar, dairy, fat or soy.
How to use it: Pancakes, smoothies, muffins and bars are all great, protein-ready options.
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